Gardening Info-The Beetle Invasion: Aphids

Very few people truly like insects of any sort. In most cases, gardeners are amongst those who like them the least. Even the most pacifistic of gardeners could second guess his stance when he sees the destruction that some insects can do. A gardener could spend an entire summer pruning his flowers to look just the perfect way or helping his vegetables to grow big and strong. And when that gardener walks into his backyard to see his flowers or his vegetables destroyed by insects, he will seriously reconsider his life choices. Thus is the pattern of the Aphid invasion.

Aphids can be quite annoying to the gardener. They excrete a sweet substance that, like the soda pop left in the mini-van, quickly turns black on the leaves of the plants. And like the soda, ants love this sweet substance and will flock to it. Now your rose looks like a house after a teenager’s parents left him home alone for the first time. There’s the sweet substance from the aphid that makes the flower look dingy. There’s also an entire colony of ants marching across your hard work

Though it is tempting to squash each and every last one of these bugs, to do so would take an annoyingly (not to mention impossibly) long time. Instead, gardeners must cautiously attack the aphid invasion.

There are a number of methods available to the gardener to get rid of his aphid problem. Each one has positive effects and negative drawbacks. For instance, the suggestion to squash ever aphid is safe to the environment, but it may not be an efficient use of resources.

There are a great deal of pesticides out there as well. The key is trying to find one that is good to the environment, doesn’t harm the drinking water, and still takes care of the aphid invasion. The best way to find one of these is to go to a greenhouse and to see what they suggest.

The greenhouse workers will also know that you should not try to kill of all the aphids in your garden. It’s temping when you see them dragging their ant friends everywhere, but you have to remember that nature’s ecosystem is a balance. There are insects that eat those aphids. So if you kill them off, there will not be anything more for the predators to eat. This causes three problems. First, the predators find this arrangement extremely inconvenient. Second, their predators find it inconvenient as well. And thirdly when the next family of aphids comes in for a bit, they’ll most likely stay around. After all, you got rid of their predators.

So if you can put up with the aphid invasion, it’s best to do so. If you do need to do get rid of them, make sure to leave a few around to guard against the return of the predators.

Brown Gardening

Anyone who has tried to keep a garden alive in the midst of a drought learns to detest the color brown. People don’t want their plants to be brown – it’s the sign of an unhealthy plant, one that is dying. Can brown be good though? Obviously if a plant is meant to have another color, then brown is bad. What if that plant was designed to be brown? Can brown actually have a healthy look in a garden?

Why does the color of a garden even matter? Non-gardening types may wonder why gardeners put so much effort into picking out what colors, patterns, heights and a myriad of other factors are used in a garden. But a gardener knows that her garden is an extension of herself. When a gardener plants a flower, that flower represents something – whether in color or in style. The gardener may plant yellow for her happy days and red for the romantic ones. Brown is a transitional color – the color of fall. It’s a backdrop and an accent that can give a solid accent to a brilliant landscape.

The color of emotion is not such a strange concept. For years, psychologists have studied the effects of colors on the human psyche. Blue is a color of tranquility. That’s why many doctor’s offices have it on their walls – to calm nervous patients. Green is a color of growth. A nurturing personality will often times wear green, whether consciously or subconsciously. Colors both reflect our current emotions and elicit certain emotions from us. In this case, browns are the transition stage.

Many people focus on the brightly colored flowers – the reds, yellows, and oranges, but they overlook what a simple brown accent can do for the garden. The next time you go to the greenhouse to pick out flowers for your garden, take a moment and look at the brown plants. There are plenty of ornamental grasses that come in brown. By providing a different color and texture, you bring a living quality to your garden.

There are also several plants that have various shades of brown in them. These work great as a transitional color or on the fringes of the garden. There are varieties of pansies, columbines, and others that have this brownish color. When used properly, they don’t reflect the end of the season as much as they do a transition. Brown can be a beautiful addition to the garden, helping the entire landscape seem to jump to life.

Gardeners put massive amounts of time, effort, and money into their gardens. Just as the color and style of a house reflects the owner, so does a garden. By mixing brown in with a variety of other colors, the gardener shows himself to have depth of character. The use of brown in a garden can bring it to life and make it real – helping to accent the beauty of the other flowers. Don’t be afraid of the transitional brown. It’s all a part of the growth process.